Sepsis should be one of the most feared diseases facing individuals with diabetes. I’m not sure that it is, probably because it is generally not well understood and is not reported in the same dramatic manner as other illnesses.
However, those diagnosed with sepsis have up to a ~16% mortality rate. This rises 40% for those with severe sepsis and to over 60% for those with septic shock. Unlike cancer, which is significantly less deadly (see the figure), sepsis can strike in a matter of days and takes its toll on the young and old alike. To make matters worse, there is apparently not a clear diagnostic criteria until the disease has progressed. Until then, clinicians look for two or three indication that are often qualitative. And, every hour that treatment is delayed carries a 7% increase in mortality.
What is sepsis? It is the overwhelming response of the body to an infection. It is the body’s deady response to infection or injury.
I once attended a talk in which the presenter described the body’s immune system as a booby-trap that is set to self-destruct when an intruder enters its premises. The infection is the intruder and the response of the body’s immune system is what actually causes the deadly blast.